A brand-new kitchen and revitalized rooms surrounding it give a Bedford family the home of their dreams.
We’ve heard it so many times that it has become a cliché: The kitchen is the heart of the home. To put a fresh spin on the adage, consider how an interior designer might interpret the words. “Rooms that join the kitchen should celebrate the kitchen as best they can,” says Kacey Graham of Boehm Graham Interior Design.
“You shouldn’t need a passport to go from room to room,” she continues, emphasizing the importance of unifying the aesthetics of all spaces adjacent to, and radiating around, the kitchen. This is the approach she took with a home in Bedford that was begging for a shot of adrenalin. “It was longing for someone to recharge it and give it some life,” she says. “The family is young and has a lot of great energy. The (existing) house was just not a representation of who all of them are as individuals and as a family unit.”
Graham’s clients were well aware that their kitchen was outdated and that it was time to reinvent the dark and functionally subpar space. But as much as they longed for an overhaul, the thought of embarking on such a complex project was daunting. “We wouldn’t have done it ourselves,” says the husband. “We just didn’t have the time or energy.” When he and his wife met Graham through a mutual friend, they knew they had found the right person for the job. It was a model collaboration from the get-go.
After spending considerable time with her clients, who have two adolescent sons, to learn their tastes and desires, Graham launched into what would become an 18-month process that completely transformed the home without requiring any major structural upheavals. First, Graham teamed up with designer Whitney Nelson of Granite State Cabinetry to give the family a to-die-for kitchen. The two women also collaborated on the master bath, the sons’ bath and the laundry room.
The husband’s vision, Graham recalls with a laugh, was “to go big or go home.” Thus, a luxurious 48-inch Thermador range sets the stage for an array of equally stunning elements and design decisions, starting with the 10-and-a-half-foot island topped with honed Danby marble from Vermont. In Graham’s estimation, the room needed a “power piece in the middle of a sea of white.” She had the island painted in “Summer Storm,” which is also the color of the range hood. The gray hue provides relief from the pure-white lacquered cabinetry by Cabico, which includes the panels on the refrigerator and dishwasher.
“In the kitchen, we needed to do two things with intention,” asserts Graham. “We needed to paint the island gray, so we anchored the middle part of the room, and I absolutely believe we had to do a natural stone for the island. The honed Danby marble (similar to Carrara Gold marble, but less expensive) lends more character than quartz. It’s one of a kind, and that’s what my clients wanted — they wanted unique.”
Picking up on the veining in the marble, gold-tone fixtures adorn all the cabinetry, while the same metallic finish appears in the lantern-like chandeliers and in the legs of four upholstered chairs at the island. Other decorative touches that add flair include the fishtail mullions in the glass cabinet doors flanking the range hood.
The homeowners had previously discussed with a contractor the idea of changing the screened-in porch to become part of the kitchen. Agreeing that the largely unused space would be a game-changing complement to the kitchen, Ken Dionne of KRD Builders was hired and went ahead with removing the porch’s slider doors and completely opening up the room to the kitchen. Flooded with sunshine and allowing views of the beautiful backyard pool and landscaping, the renovated porch space is now a resplendent eat-in area where Graham integrated a custom-built, semi-circle upholstered banquette that can be used as a whole unit or separated into two, with a chair placed in between. A built-in espresso machine, strategically located on a wall transitioning from the kitchen to the eat-in area, provides each family member with the beverage of their choice.
The family room had always been open to the kitchen, but, points out Graham, “the room needed better-defined balance than before.” She changed the orientation of furnishings, replacing a huge sectional set into the angled wall corner with two comfy, custom velvet sofas that face each other to facilitate conversation, and run perpendicular from a central fireplace flanked by built-ins that received a new coat of white paint and accent lighting. A large TV above the mantel, framed in gold to match the chandelier, is complemented by smaller TVs on either side that pop out of the built-in bookcases. Another surprise is a custom dog crate, stained the same blue as in the mudroom, with bars that match all the other gold detailing in the home. It’s the princely abode of Mayfield, a Staffordshire terrier who joined the family just a month after Graham wrapped up her renovation. “Thankfully, the dog went to obedience camp,” she says.
Opposite the family room, a doorway leads from the kitchen into a large, rectangular space informally divided into dining and living areas that are more elevated in style than the breakfast and family rooms, yet consistent with the overall polished vibe of the first floor. “I definitely didn’t want this room to have any white,” says Graham. “I wanted to bring in darker tones and have it be different from what we had done in the kitchen.” First, she had a pair of columns separating the rooms removed, and then painted the existing molding and chair rail gray. A coffered ceiling, painted in “Kendall Charcoal” by Benjamin Moore, was added and grass cloth installed inside its squares. A showstopping Ralph Lauren chandelier and a series of Neo-classical prints complete the dining room area.
This dusky ambience carries over into the living portion of the room, where a leather sofa paired with chairs upholstered in gray velvet with a navy-blue pinstripe inspired Graham to describe the look as “a man’s suit meeting his leather shoes.” Color-blocked drapery panels, she says, “introduce and then close out what our color palette is.” Graham remembers the husband saying to her that he wanted the rooms to feel “really handsome.” In this tailored space, she observes, “There is nothing floral or overly feminine, but it still feels comforting and cozy.”
With this more formal space situated adjacent to the foyer, Graham says she had to be mindful of what would be visible from the front door. Which is also why a total refresh of the main entryway was critical. “The (former) space had an outdated, wall-to-wall-type beige runner, the stair posts were ho-hum, and the walls were just plain, with art that seemed forced,” describes the designer. “We wanted to have the foyer be more interesting architecturally.” To that end, she changed the floor stain (here and throughout the first floor) from natural to a rich, deep brown, and painted new stair posts in high-gloss black from Fine Paints of Europe. “I find their quality and depth of color and sheen level to be second to none,” she says. Additionally, panel detail gives the foyer’s white walls “some pizzazz and quality.”
Although it’s behind a closed door, the first-floor powder room is a seamless extension of the sophisticated style that’s Graham’s calling card. In lieu of a vanity, there is a floating marble slab (the same marble as the family room’s fireplace surround) with a sink carved into it and plenty of countertop space. Brass strapping and a pair of brass fixtures above the sink add zing to the room painted the same gray as the kitchen island. “A powder room is small, so I like to add a bit of a wow factor,” says Graham.
The husband’s office, separated from the foyer by French doors, is a microcosm of the design sensibility Graham displays elsewhere throughout the home’s first floor: blue-painted woodwork, grass cloth-covered walls, a brass desk lamp and an enlarged, custom-framed sepia-toned family photograph. In addition to the design influences in this room, practical measures appropriate to a work space were taken as well. For instance, glass had to be removed from the artwork due to the glare it cast during Zoom calls. It’s one of many gestures that attest to the level of thoughtfulness that went into renovating this home.
Leading up to a project, “I ask questions until I have enough information so that my client feels like they sit in my brain,” says Graham. “My job is to say, ‘Let’s get excited about your house.’ The value is our partnership.”
Boehm Graham Interior Design
Granite State Cabinetry